17 Dead As Violent Dera Supporters Clash With Police, Train Bogies Set On Fire In Delhi

The Punjab and Haryana High Court orders Dera Sacha Sauda to compensate for all the damages caused by its supporters

Vehicles, including those of media, set on fire by agitating Dera Sacha Sauda followers in Panchkula, Haryana

17 people are feared dead and 200 people injured after violent Dera Sacha Sauda supporters clashed with police and para-military soldiers after the CBI court convicted Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on charges of rape. Dera supporters violated section 144 (against unlawful assembly) imposed by the police and attacked media outdoor broadcast vans, journalists and set vehicles parked on roads on fire.

Protestors also set fire to Malout and Balluanna railway stations in Punjab, according to the Northern Railways. Many motorcycles, cars and buildings, including an Income Tax building in Mansa in Punjab, were set on fire, reports The Economic Times.

Dera Sacha Sauda have refused to take any responsibility for the violence. They claim there is no evidence of their supporters being involved in the incidents of arson. Dera will also challenge the verdict against their chief in the high court.

India Today showed their media van getting attacked which left their cameraperson bleeding. Other news channels have also reported their reporters and crew facing violent attacks.

At least two OB vans, owned by Times Now and NDTV were also overturned and set on fire.

The violence has also spread out of Haryana to nearby Delhi. Two bogies of a train were torched at Anand Vihar railway station in Delhi and a bus on the outskirts of the city were set on fire, reports CNN News 18. Petrol bombs were also hurled in Shahadra area of New Delhi. Police personnel could be seen standing helplessly as the supporters clearly outnumbered the law enforcers.

TV reporters have filed several video reports of the prevailing situation on the ground showing charred vehicles and retreating Dera supporters. Several buildings including the office of Life Insurance Corporation of India were targeted with glass windows being shattered by stone pelting Dera supporters.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has stepped in slamming the state government for not being able to rein in the violent protestors. The court has ordered that Dera Sacha Sauda will have to compensate for all the losses caused by its supporters.

Meanwhile, Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, under fire for not taking adequate steps to prevent the violence tweeted that he has briefed the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and action will be taken against the protestors.

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